A/N: I...have no idea where this came from. I sat down a week ago to work on things I SHOULD be updating (Damn it, Dailies Muse!) and then this story idea mauled me from out of nowhere. It has a plot and everything! Sigh. Someday I will finish things in a timely manner. I just know it.

So, this is not the AU you think it is. I won't say much more than that, for fear of revealing the story, but don't harpoon me with questions, pretty please? I know right now it looks like I've belly-flopped all over canon. But rest assured that I've read it all, seen it all, know the story. I promise there's a reason for everything (i.e., the presence of some characters and not others, cell phones). I LOVE YOU ALL AND WISH TO GIVE YOU GOOD STORY!

I do not own Naruto, and am making zero money off of this work.

Chapter One:

Strange Places


He woke to the sound of his mother's voice, bellowing its way up the stairs and through his tightly shut door.

"Rise and shine, baby boy! Roll that ass out of bed. I want to take pictures of it before the upperclassmen decorate it with footprints!"

"You've always been my favorite parent!" Naruto shouted back, and flapped his hands until the thick quilt slid off of his face.

As he fumbled around for his school outfit (and rapped into the dresser while doing so, ouch, fuck) he heard his dad contribute something that sounded a little like, "Weeping on the inside".

"Mornings suck forever," he announced as he barreled his way down the stairs. "That dresser hates my guts. It wants to kill my insides."

At the table, blonde hair barely visible behind the morning paper, Minato offered a mild, "Is it sentient? I'm tripping your mother and leaving the house."

"Love you forever, sweets," Kushina sang out from her spot at the kitchen sink, where she was rinsing coffee cups with her long red hair pulled into a tight tail. "Forever and always. Aw," she added, upon seeing her son enter the kitchen. "Look at my baby. All grown up and getting strangled by his necktie."

Naruto glanced down at the messy knot around his throat and puffed his cheeks out in annoyance.

"Why does it hate me?" he asked piteously of the room. "Why does it hate me and want me to suffer?"

He flopped dramatically into his chair, in order to properly emphasize his pain.

"The ballad of manhood," Minato said. "Welcome to its ranks, Son. You can have a cigar after school."

"That's so sweet," Kushina said, as she slid a stack of pancakes across the table. "Just really adorable, the way you're trying to off my kid with cancer sticks. I'm falling for you all over again. Hold me."

"We've discussed this. Sexy times make the child uncomfortable. Therefore we wait to have them until he is out of the house."

"Wow. Remember when you used to be all bendy and fun? Remember that? Now you're just this swirling black hole of boredom that I happen to share offspring with."

"I love it when you talk dirty to me."

"Not enough therapy in the world," Naruto lamented to his forkful of pancake, which dripped syrup in its sympathy.

Kushina laughed, and popped her fist against her son's shoulder blade.

Later, after pancakes had been eaten and the table cleared, Minato and Kushina watched their son search for his backpack and slip into his shoes.

"He looks like you," Kushina sighed, as she snapped her pictures. Naruto zipping his bag shut. Naruto straightening his tie. Naruto batting at his knotted shoelaces like a pissed off kitten-seriously, we're sending this kid off to higher education? "Little Minato clone. But he talks like me. God, you're so lucky."

"Sometimes your words make me sad inside," Minato informed her fondly, and kissed her hair.

"Ready!" Naruto announced, bouncing to his feet, backpack tucked rakishly across one shoulder.

Kushina snapped another picture.

"Now, remember Naruto," Minato said seriously. "It's high school. Prison rules apply. Be sure to assert your dominance right away."

"Shank someone in the schoolyard," Kushina added earnestly. "Only, not really, because I hear they're all about learning and less about violence these days. Use a book, maybe? Shank them with knowledge?"

"You guys are horrible people," Naruto laughed, and stepped forward to receive his family hug.

For a moment, everything was warm arms and familiar smells and the silent sound of be safe, have fun, we're proud of you. And then, Naruto was pushing back, secure in the knowledge that there'd be another group hug waiting for him upon his return, and grinned his way out into the warm sunlight.

He wasn't nervous. Not really, and not just because his Mom was a fearsome bitch-warrior who would go after anyone who tried to screw with his special day (this was fact, Naruto had seen her talk an obnoxious parent pretty much into the fetal position at the arcade on his twelfth birthday, and then cut cake all serene-like while her husband laughed himself sick in the background). He liked people, and people seemed to like him, so. Not nervous. A little bouncy, maybe. Sitting still for eight periods was going to be all sorts of suck.

And uniforms. Really. That was also kind of balls. The pants were all itchy, and they sat way too high up on his ass for his comfort level.

But, all necessary evils according to the parents. Only four years, and then he could choose his own adventure. Because his mom and dad were awesome, and wouldn't push college at him unless he wanted it to be pushed. They drew the line at selling drugs and prostitution (well, his dad drew the line…his mom kind of shrugged and went 'blah' with her hands), but other than that, Naruto's after-high-school life was up to him. So, he'd suck it up for a few years, and then maybe start making ramen at the shop down the street. Because ramen made all things good in the world and Naruto could get behind that kind of charity work.

Naruto wandered the four blocks to school, floating on happy noodle dreams. He saw some familiar faces once he reached the sun-baked brick building, but not many, because his dad had insisted upon sending Naruto to his and Kushina's old alma mater, even though it was outside of their district.

They'd gotten a letter, shortly after Naruto had been enrolled, from the school principal. It was a reminder that school policies were, indeed, to be followed, no matter what 'that terrifying redheaded girl and her enabling, obviously brainwashed accomplice' seemed to otherwise believe. He'd attached a list of crimes committed by Naruto's parents during their academic years, to support his claims. Naruto had caught his mother sitting at the kitchen table, laughing until tears rolled down her cheeks, the list crumpled in her fist. The next day, he'd found it taped to the refrigerator door and covered in little heart stickers.

So, no. Not a lot of familiar faces as he climbed the steps to the school's entrance. But he saw plenty of teachers, the older ones who looked like they'd been here a while, make 'oh shit' faces as he strolled past. Any other kid might have slumped his shoulders in embarrassment, or tossed out reassuring smiles to try and silently inform the faculty that no really, my parents don't define me, I promise I won't light the banisters on fire.

Except that Naruto's parents were made of awesome, and he really kind of wanted everyone to know that they'd raised him right. So his toothy grins instead implied fuck yes my parents define me, fire is so my favorite thing, your banisters will be funeral pyres.

Naruto's first hour class was on the second level, tucked into the building's back corner (blah stairs). But the room had some really great windows, and Naruto's first reaction upon entering the room was maybe to flop around in the sunshine until class actually started. The other kids were a lot more interesting than a potential nap, however, so instead he slipped on his most winning smile and tried to decide if drop-kicking the door shut would accomplish the optimal first impression.

The room was almost full (everyone showed up early to make sure they weren't late to their first day of high school, so precious Naruto wanted to purr), and his grin got some tentative responses. A few others went red in the face and tried to stare holes through the surface of their desks (We will be friends, Naruto promised them silently. You will love me, and we will light fires together). And one girl who stared back impassively, tapping short fingernails against her desk.

Naruto was across the room in a hot second, throwing himself in the desk next to hers, because fuck yes he was going to date the shit out of her.

"So. We need to discuss you bearing my children. Like, what kind you want and how many we should shoot for."

The girl blinked unimpressed green eyes in his direction.

"Oh, wow," she said. "That's a thing, then. That people say. Really."

Naruto popped his elbows on the desk and settled his chin in his hands. Batted his eyes for all he was worth, because gender roles were stupid, and she could emotionally dominate him all she wanted.

"How do you feel about brood-sized? I'm comfortable with brood-sized. We could start a gang. Or a circus."

The girl smiled, and Naruto's heart fluttered. So meant to be. So, so meant to be.

"I will actually punch you in the face," she said sweetly, and wrapped dainty fingers around a strand of short-trimmed, cotton candy hair.

"They'll write songs about our love," Naruto cooed, and squished his own cheeks. "Ballads. We'll probably die horribly together, and children will study us in history class."

She made some sort of noise, a cross between wounded gazelle and bear-poked-with-stick, and Naruto chose to interpret it as positive progress.

He was about to ask her name, so as to inform her how much better it would sound with 'Uzumaki' tagged on at the end, when the door opened, and another student walked in.

He was all pale skin and dark eyes and manfully sculpted hairdo. His tie was perfect, but he'd left the top button undone, like the little neck-slut he clearly was. He eyeballed the room and managed to convey the inferiority of every single occupant using only his eyebrows.

The girls swooned. Naruto's green-eyed goddess tilted her head (perhaps in invitation, but more likely to try and scope out man-slut's ass). The other boys shrank in their seats.

So, obviously, Naruto was going to have to kick him in the teeth. Like, this had to happen. And soon, before he stole Naruto's woman away with his dark eyes and inevitable angsty back-story.

"Hmph," the boy said, just to make sure that his status as class asshole was locked in place, and ignored Naruto's dagger-glare in order to settle into a seat by the door.

Naruto really, really hated being ignored.

His eyes started to squint as he calculated the number of desks he'd have to hurdle (only four…he could totally do this shit) in order to reach angst-boy's seat. And then hit him with it. But the bell rang before his master plan could be executed, and the sound startled him back into his chair.

"I don't actually want to sit by you, and all of your crazy," his dream woman informed him cheerfully. "I'm afraid it may be infectious. Feel free to move away before I beat your face in."

"You're sexy when you're murderous."

Her hands balled into fists on the desk. He beamed. Their kids were going to be such winners.

Five minutes past, filled with Naruto's continued romantic overtures and counted by the steady ticks in dream girl's temple. But no teacher arrived, and the students began to squirm in their seats.

"Five more minutes," some of them whispered. "Five more minutes and then we can leave. Um. Just go. I think?"

Naruto heard neck-slut mutter "Idiots" from his desk and felt the hair on the back of his neck bristle. He was about to suggest a manly bout of arm-wrestling (with an added kick to the face, courtesy of Uzumaki Providers) when the door opened, and a man walked in, dressed in a shaggy suit and wearing a grey face mask.


No, seriously.


"Why is he wearing that?" dream girl asked, obviously forgetting her vow to hate Naruto for all eternity in the wake of her newfound confusion.

"I want to rip it off," Naruto whispered, fingers curling desperately on the desk. "I have to rip it off. And possibly eat it."

Dream Girl remembered her vow very abruptly, and scooted her desk away.

The teacher, apparently oblivious to the hissing whispers of his class, dropped a single orange book on his desk (Naruto narrowed his eyes at it, because it looked an awful lot like the smut novels his mom waved around sometimes when she wanted her husband to make those funny choking noises). He picked up a sheet of paper, and made happy crescent eyes at the gaping students.

"Good morning, class!" he greeted. "My name is Professor Kakashi Hatake. Sorry I was late. My alarm clock got eaten by rabid hyenas. Tragic."

No one moved. No one moved, because that was obviously such beautiful bullshit, and what the fuck was the protocol for calling bullshit on a teacher anyway?

"We won't do much in this class. I know it's only Homeroom, but. I don't really enjoy academics. I actually don't care about any of you, either," the teacher continued cheerfully. "In fact, I hate most of you already. But the school requires that I take roll call. So. Shall we?"

By this point, very few people were breathing, either. The first girl who got called on by Kakashi-sensei looked like she was going to puke all over her desk. But Naruto couldn't be bothered. He'd become fascinated by Kakashi-sensei's form. Guy was long, and scraggly. All arms and legs, and an incredible actual pillar of grey hair. Naruto kind of wanted to poke him to see if he'd fall over, but was simultaneously terrified to do so, for fear that his new Sensei would break in half.

About halfway through roll call, dream girl got a name. Sakura Haruno. Huh.

Uzumaki totally sounded better.

I-listen-to-sad-music-but-don't-admit-it boy got a name too. Sasuke. Sasuke Uchiha.

"I bet you write poetry in your spare time," Naruto hissed out between his teeth as several girls seized lovingly in their seats. "Poetry and song lyrics."

"Naruto Uzumaki," Kakashi-sensei called out, and Naruto tore his attention away.

"Sensei, are they feeding you?" he blurted, honestly concerned. "And what's with the mask? Is there some horrible disease eating your face? Should we be running?"

"That's charming," Kakashi-sensei replied, his happy eye curves curling even further upward. "You're a special snowflake, I can tell."

"I can call someone," Naruto continued solemnly. "I have all of the numbers. My mom gave them to me, because she said if I ever go radioactive, she doesn't want to deal with that shit."

Naruto heard the faint thwack of Sakura's face hitting the surface of her desk. Around him, kids either laughed nervously, because they thought he was kidding, or shifted helplessly in their seats, because maybe they'd heard about his mom and knew that he totally wasn't.

"Adorable," Kakashi-sensei said, and Naruto squawked a little, because that was sarcasm in his voice. That shit was easy to recognize when you'd lived with it since birth. "So, you should all read, or something. Do educational stuff."

He waved his hands encouragingly, and then dropped down to his desk chair and buried his face behind his orange novel. And there was even more nervous shifting, because they all had the appropriate textbooks (well, most of them, Naruto was pretty sure; although, he might have thrown his math book out the window, because one look inside made his soul die a little) but no one had thought to bring anything actually fun to do.

Well, except Sakura, apparently. After sparing their teacher a brief, scandalized glare, she pulled a thick novel out of her bag and flipped it open. And Sasuke-Angstchiha had folded his fingers together and appeared to be gearing up the annual survey and review of gently weeping guitar memories.

So, Naruto whipped out his phone, because meh. Kakashi-sensei was ignoring them anyway.

Just offered marriage to your future daughter-in-law, Naruto typed out to his parents. My teacher is wearing a mask and reading porn. Also, I'm about to beat this kid's teeth in for wearing SUCH. BITCHFACE.

His dad sent back, You can't hit someone for bitchface. YOU have a bitchface.

His mom replied with, What kind of porn?

Naruto grinned and sent them both a row of hearts.

After a few minutes of staring blankly at the ceiling, Naruto gave up on the entire institution of being still and leaned back over into Sakura's space, ignoring the look she sent him that said, 'Am reading. Will hit'.

"So, you're reading," he offered in a loud whisper. "Which means our babies will be smart and sexy. Thoughts?"

"Filter," Sakura responded. "Between mouth and brain. You have none."

From across the room, a barely audible snicker hit the air. Naruto whipped his head around hard enough to get whiplash, and narrowed his eyes.

Yep. That was definitely a smirk on Sasuke Uchiha's face.

"Got something to share, Bastard?" Naruto asked, not even bothering to lower his voice this time.

"Not particularly," the boy responded, and he sounded like he could care less about Naruto's entire existence. But that damn smirk was still curling his lips, waving itself like a red flag in front of Naruto's eyes.

"Really?" he countered. "Are you sure? Because your bird's ass hairdo seems like it has so many things to say. Like, how much it hates you for forcing it into that position every day. And how eventually it will rebel and swallow your face."

A few of the boys started snickering. The girls looked scandalized. Sakura reached over and pinched him.

"Stop being such a jerk," she hissed.

"Moron," Sasuke added for good measure.

Naruto planted his hands on the desk, ready to get up and over, but Kakashi-sensei chose that exact moment to actually care.

"Now, now children," he said mildly, still buried behind his book. "Play nice."

"But Sensei," Naruto whined.

"Reading," Kakashi sang out. "Reading and therefore not listening!"

Naruto scowled, and then flopped down on his desk for a manly pout.

By the time the bell rang, Naruto was already bored out of his skull and contemplating the merits of nap time in his next class. He yawned as he got to his feet, intent on walking Sakura to her next class (although he was fairly certain the safety of his manly bits wouldn't be assured once there was no longer a teacher in immediate view), only to notice that she had already skated by him, and was chatting quietly with Sasuke-Bastard by the door.

Naruto made a face. She looked so…soft under his attention. Sweet and girly and wrong. Claws retracted. Naruto liked her better flushed and angry and ready to kick some ass if she had to. She should never look so breakable.

So Naruto bounced, past a group of girls silently giving Sakura the evil eye for getting to Sasuke first, and straight up to Sakura's side.

"Sakura!" he sang out. "Want me to walk you to class?"

The look she gave him should have melted his face off like acid, and Naruto beamed. So much better.

But then Sasuke made that sound again. Halfway between a snicker and snort (the vocal equivalent of an eye-roll). And he turned toward the door, obviously intent on leaving Naruto and his stupidity behind. He socked his shoulder into Naruto's as he passed, hard enough to knock Naruto off balance, and for a moment all Naruto could see was Sasuke's retreating back, and then things got just a little bit confusing.

Fury red-washed Naruto's vision and something that tasted weirdly like panic coated the back of his throat. And before he could really process his own reactions, he was pouncing on Sasuke's back, and tackling him to the floor.

They went down hard, the combined weight of two fifteen year old boys cracking Sasuke's elbow and Naruto's knees against the linoleum. Sasuke twisted around, and Naruto was momentarily staggered by the fury on his face (because he'd looked so dead inside before), which gave Sasuke the opportunity to hiss "What the hell is wrong with you?" and drive his fist into Naruto's chest to push him off.

And, okay. Naruto was aware of his own latent abandonment issues (his mom liked to wait until he had friends over and then tell them tales of Naruto's pissed off toddler self, who they'd caught trying to pretzel his way into his Dad's briefcase on work days), and even he knew this was perhaps not the best arena to display them in. But that still didn't stop him from returning Sasuke's punch, because he didn't let that shit go unanswered.

"Naruto! Knock it off!" Sakura shouted, but he wasn't listening, because he was busy taking Sasuke's return punch to the jaw.

Pain snapped bright and yellow behind his eyes, and the baffling fear on the back of his tongue vanished under a rolling wave of must rip out frou-frou haircut. As he and Sasuke rolled across the floor, knocking into desks and trying their best to play whack-a-mole with each other's insides, Naruto caught the sound of Sakura and Sensei's voices from above.

"Sensei! Sensei, please. Aren't you going to stop them?"

"Meh. I'm pretty sure they don't pay me for that."

"….Are you reading porn?"

Naruto's resulting snicker cost him a bloody lip.

"Fine. Just…fine!"

And then slender fingers were grabbing at the back of Naruto's head, and smashing his skull against Sasuke's hard enough to send stars wheeling above his eyes.

He yelped and rolled to the side, flailing indignantly as he scrabbled at his head. Sasuke lay still amongst the ravaged desks, one hand pressed over his face.

"WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO?" Sakura bellowed above them. "Are you FIVE?"

"Owwww!" Naruto whined. "Sakura, my head!"

"Shut. Up. Idiot," Sasuke muttered from underneath his hand.

For a moment, something like confusion crossed Sakura's face. She stared at her hands, then at their heads, and squinched her brown up tight.

Then, the confusion cleared as quickly as it had come, and some of the murder faded from Sakura's eyes, to be replaced with a kind of mortified stillness.

"Oh. Oh! Sasuke! I'm so sorry…I don't know what I was thinking!"

Sasuke spread his fingers a little and fixed her with a dark glare. For a moment, Sakura wilted, and Naruto thought she might cry (and he balled his fist up again in preparation). But then her spine snapped straight and she tossed her head.

"You were the one who let him antagonize you," she reminded him primly, and Naruto let out a rollicking laugh, fist relaxing at his side.

As Naruto climbed unsteadily to his feet (everything hurt, fuck damn it), trading glares with Sasuke all the while, a hand reached out and patted at Sakura's head. Kakashi-sensei.

"Well done, Sakura," he said cheerfully, and he was still reading that damn book. "Boys, as entertaining and manly as that was, I believe a trip to the principal's office is in order."

He finally snapped his novel closed, tucking it into his back pocket, and snagged Naruto and Sasuke's necks in surprisingly strong hands. Naruto yowled and twisted, and mortified color stained Sasuke's pale face.

"My father will-," he managed.

But Kakashi-sensei cut him off with a loud and gleeful, "Want to hear about your adventures, I'm sure!" before frog-marching them out of the room and through the crowd of gaping students gathered by the door.

"Idiots," Naruto heard Sakura mutter as the door shut behind them. "Such idiots."

Kakashi walked them all the way down the principal's office, and eventually Naruto stopped struggling, because cataloguing all of Sasuke's injuries was so much more satisfying (and because even though Sensei let them go once they reached the stairwell, perhaps because Sasuke looked ready to panic himself into oblivion over being touched by another human being, the man was radiating a disappointment under those happy eyes that seemed really deep and sort of familiar).

Naruto pulled out his phone once they'd been seated outside the office, because Kakashi-sensei took off after rapping his knuckles against the glass wall and tossing 'Have fun!' at the principal's secretary.

Bitchface eliminated, he typed out to his parents. You should be getting a phone call soon.

His dad responded with, It's been less than two hours. Seriously?

His mom typed back, I told you to shank them WITH KNOWLEDGE.

Your first day included fire, Naruto reminded them.

Your argument is invalid, his mother messaged back. I waited until the final bell had rung.

Naruto rolled his eyes, and stuffed his phone back in his pocket. He kicked his feet against the bottom of the chair for a while, and then stopped when his swollen ankle (where Sasuke had kicked him, the jerk) told him to knock it the fuck off. After a while, he popped his chin against his palm and stared a little bit at Sasuke. The other boy was attempting to set the wall on fire with the power of his fury, although his glare looked a little less badass and a little more cuddles due to the black eye starting to swell.

Naruto hummed a little bit as he considered both his buzzy contentment at the sight of Sasuke sitting next to him and his mind informing him that He looks the same as me under all that skin.

Well. Probably that was the endorphins talking. That, and the Boy Code written deep into his blood. The way Naruto saw it, they'd attempted to punch each other's faces off. Best friends was obviously where they were headed. Comfortable hatred was the starting point.

Sasuke probably didn't know that yet. He didn't look like he spent a lot of time communing with the Boy Code.

"Hey, Bastard," Naruto said, after sitting a while in silence.

"What, Moron?" Sasuke asked, his voice all nice and empty once again. Naruto already hated that like poison; Sasuke was much more fun when he was spitting flames.

Naruto hummed a little bit more, staring at the ceiling, before responding in a thoughtful voice.

"Do you believe in déjà vu?"


A/N: Oh God, it takes place in a high school *is crying inside* I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Next Chapter: Sasuke POV. Opinions on the Great, Blonde Idiot. Stay tuned. Happy Reading!